Wisdom from the West Wing

Quotes from American presidents, statesmen, and other political figures historical and fictional.
A perpetually militarized, isolated and impoverished America is not the America that our fathers came here to build. It is not the America that has been the dream and the hope of countless generations in all parts of the world. It is not the America that one hundred and thirty million of us would care to live in.
Harold L. Ickes, What is an American? 1941

A perpetually militarized, isolated and impoverished America is not the America that our fathers came here to build. It is not the America that has been the dream and the hope of countless generations in all parts of the world. It is not the America that one hundred and thirty million of us would care to live in.

Harold L. Ickes, What is an American? 1941

Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character. You’re too good for schadenfreude, you’re too good for gossip and snark, you’re too good for intolerance—and since you’re walking into the middle of a presidential election, it’s worth mentioning that you’re too good to think people who disagree with you are your enemy.

Aaron Sorkin, 2012 Syracuse Commencement Speech

Labor to keep alive in your breast the little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
George Washington, Book of Etiquette 1747

Labor to keep alive in your breast the little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

George Washington, Book of Etiquette 1747

My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.
General Douglas MacArthur, West Point Farewell 1962

My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

General Douglas MacArthur, West Point Farewell 1962

To all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
President Barack Obama, Election Night Speech, 2008

To all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

President Barack Obama, Election Night Speech, 2008

To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex… which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home of the nation.
Susan B. Anthony, Speech After Being Convicted of Voting, 1872

To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex… which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home of the nation.

Susan B. Anthony, Speech After Being Convicted of Voting, 1872

We have no quarrel with the German people… It was not upon their impulse that their government acted in entering this war… It was a war determined upon as wars used to be determined upon in the old, unhappy days when peoples were nowhere consulted by their rulers and wars were provoked and waged in the interest of dynasties or of little groups of ambitious men who were accustomed to use their fellow men as pawns and tools.
Woodrow Wilson, This Is War 1917

We have no quarrel with the German people… It was not upon their impulse that their government acted in entering this war… It was a war determined upon as wars used to be determined upon in the old, unhappy days when peoples were nowhere consulted by their rulers and wars were provoked and waged in the interest of dynasties or of little groups of ambitious men who were accustomed to use their fellow men as pawns and tools.

Woodrow Wilson, This Is War 1917

Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion
Woodrow Wilson, This Is War 1917

Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion

Woodrow Wilson, This Is War 1917

That’s what they were saying about me 50 years ago: “Blacks shouldn’t serve with whites; it would disrupt the unit.” You know what? It did disrupt the unit. The unit got over it. The unit changed. I’m an admiral in the U.S. Navy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Beat that with a stick.
Admiral Percy Fitzwallace, The West Wing — Let Bartlet be Bartlet, 2000

That’s what they were saying about me 50 years ago: “Blacks shouldn’t serve with whites; it would disrupt the unit.” You know what? It did disrupt the unit. The unit got over it. The unit changed. I’m an admiral in the U.S. Navy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Beat that with a stick.

Admiral Percy Fitzwallace, The West Wing — Let Bartlet be Bartlet, 2000

Army values are taught to soldiers from their earliest days in the Army.  Those values are: Loyalty, duty, mutual respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. We teach our soldiers that these are the values we expect them to live up to. I believe that as an institution, our military needs to live up to the values we demand of the service members.
LTG Claudia Kennedy

Army values are taught to soldiers from their earliest days in the Army. Those values are: Loyalty, duty, mutual respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. We teach our soldiers that these are the values we expect them to live up to. I believe that as an institution, our military needs to live up to the values we demand of the service members.

LTG Claudia Kennedy